Fire threat in northern Alberta eases, Cenovus and CNRL restore production

WABASCA, Alta. – Operations are returning to normal in the Wabasca area of northern Alberta after a wildfire prompted two companies to cut back heavy oil production earlier this week.

Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX:CVE) said Thursday it was bringing about 50 staff back on-site and was in the process of restarting oil production at its Pelican Lake facility.

The company evacuated 118 staff from the facility and shut down about 23,000 barrels a day of production after a wildfire was discovered about a kilometre away from the site on Tuesday.

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (TSX:CNQ) said earlier on Thursday that it had restarted the 800 barrels a day of production it shut down as a precaution because of the fire.

The company said the fire remains at a safe distance and operations at its Pelican Lake facility have returned to normal.

Alberta wildfire officials said the fire burning about 300 kilometres north of Edmonton had been downgraded from “out of control” to “being held,” but still spans about 75 hectares.